The new year has many of us thinking about personal goals, but this can also be a good time to reflect on the ways we can help others. We’re all capable of having an impact in our communities, so to make the most of the time we have available, here are four suggestions for making a difference in the New Year.
Volunteering is a broad category, which means you can personalize it and find something that you’re excited to invest your time in. Maybe this means working on a build with Habitat for Humanity or spending time with the elderly at a nursing home. Whatever you decide to do, the key is picking something that you’ll enjoy, because as great as volunteering once is, it’s even better if you can make it a regular thing. If you want to go further, getting some friends or coworkers involved not only increases the impact, but can keep you accountable to your volunteering schedule as well.
If you can, donating to worthy organizations is a great way to help out. Especially if you have a busy stretch coming up, this is a chance to give back without making a large time commitment. If you want to do some homework before giving, Charity Navigator and Guidestar are two excellent resources you can use to make sure that your dollars are going to an organization that will make the most of them.
Support Those Around You
Thinking big is great when it comes to giving back, but it’s not a requirement. Helping the people you see everyday can be just as meaningful — whether that means friends, family or coworkers. Assisting a colleague when they’re feeling overwhelmed or checking in on a friend or loved one can be a meaningful way to pay it forward in the New Year.
Share Your Expertise
No matter what your job is, you probably have some specific skills to offer. If you’re a communications professional, for example, you could help a local soup kitchen with their outreach or create promotional materials for a blood drive. If you work in finance, you could provide accounting help to a non-profit. By sharing your expertise, you are maximizing the impact that you can have when volunteering your time.
Everyone is in a position to give back in one way or another, so this year, make a plan for helping others, stick to it, and encourage others to do the same.
A version of this article originally appeared on January 3, 2019.